The Fairest of them All


She carries a wicker picnic basket
filled with apples smashed to sauce.
They wet the checkerboard cloth
and make the contents a bit messy,
but there’s nothing tastier
than a delivery of homemade
in the wintertime.

The fruits are fizzy and fermented
from sitting in the sun too long,
becoming green, envious apples
though they began
deliciously yellow.

To keep them fresh,
the flesh is washed in wicked witch;
her armpits the secret spice in this mulled cider,
the antibiotic to scare away microbes
before the pretty girl has a taste.

You tried to resist,
Snowy skin betraying hints of nervousness
in the lipstick flush of your cheeks.
You tried to keep your distance from the old lady,
whose skin was a bit too wrinkled and
nose a bit to crooked to be anything
but a bad makeup job.

But you bought Girl Scout cookies last week
and would feel guilty if you didn’t show
the same decency to a poor arthritic woman
who couldn’t even cook apples properly.

You bought three,
the least green in the bushel.
She looked like she needed the money.
You have such a kind heart,
good enough to eat;
it not like you were going to consume
the suspicious fruit,
you’re name isn’t Eve.

But you became hungry
after your companions didn’t return
from mining, probably spending
all their jewelry money on feeling
Grumpy or Dopey or Doc
at the bottom of a bottle.

You give in to temptation.
After the bite from your rose red lips,
you become the mirror image of the fairest in the land
keeping the doctor away
but for all the wrong reasons.

And so you sleep,
trying to nap or focus on your breathing
even as your glass bed is rather
uncomfortably hard.

And you wait.
And wait.

No one wants to be kissed by a stranger,
and though stranger things have happened,
it’s dangerous to wait on Prince Charming.

Armed to the teeth (maybe they’re dentures by now)
with pick up lines that sound
just as dated through the transparent glass
and Chapstick
and a bad hip,
he is past his prime,
but you cannot see the wrinkles round his eyes.

Let me offer an alternative:
If we kiss, it will end the world.
Tough I do not own a kingdom
or have a band of knights at my command,
it will break you from your prison.
I’ve seen a story fall to pieces before,
and nothing survives the apocalypse,
least of all the happy ending.

6 thoughts on “The Fairest of them All

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